The Reality of Being Unliked (and what you can do about it)

Written by Chantelle Atkins | March 30, 2017

For the author of today, building a loyal following is everything. This applies equally to independent and traditionally published authors, as these days even traditionally published writers are required to do a lot of their platform building themselves. This may include building an email list, blogging regularly, and running various social media pages to increase visibility for their books. No wonder then, after all this hard work, it can feel disastrous when you lose likes, follows or find your reach is decreasing. But is being “unliked” really such a bad thing? What are the reasons people unlike or unfollow authors, and what can we do to limit this happening?

Facebook Reach Decreasing

I know this is an issue for a lot of authors. Facebook would like us to pay for boosts and adverts, and not all of us are in a position to do this regularly. Plus there have been mixed reports on how useful such ads are. It can be incredibly frustrating to post an important update and take the time to make memes or add images, and then have only a handful of people see the post. You’ve worked hard to gain a following on Facebook and now people who’ve liked your page of their own accord cannot see your posts. But is Facebook really at fault here? After all, Facebook is showing people what it thinks they want to see. Therefore it shows them more of the things they regularly engage with, through likes, reactions, comments and shares. If people are not reacting or engaging with your page, then after a while Facebook will stop showing them your page. Eventually, they may forget they ever followed you, and Facebook will kindly remove their Like for them.

What You Can Do

Post more often! Fight back by posting regularly and at different times of the day. Make notes on what time of day you get the most reach on posts and schedule updates for those times. Share your own posts to increase reach and ask others to do the same. Facebook tends to give you further reach when you post content from other sources, so make sure you are including these sort of posts in your daily efforts too. For example, tips and advice from other blogs, articles about writing successes, opinion pieces and so on. This may not be your own content but it will help you reach more people, who may then like the post, which will increase the chances of them seeing more of your posts in future. Also, remember not to rely on Facebook to sell books or reach an audience. It should definitely be a tool in your kit, but certainly not the only one.

Losing Likes and Follows

I have to admit to feeling a little disappointed every time I lose a like on Facebook or lose a follower on my blog but I try not to read too much into it. If you find yourself losing a lot of likes and follows however, it may be time to ask yourself why. There are several reasons you may be losing them in volume;

1- Facebook unlikes pages for people if they have not engaged with them in a long time.

2- You’ve posted something offensive or overly opinioned.

3- You’re boring. You only post links to your books and do little else to liven up your page.

4- They checked out your content and didn’t like it

What You Can Do

Keep your page busy, vibrant and engaging. Post often and post things of interest. If you’re blogging, blog at least once a week or people will forget about you. Keeping your pages as active and fun as possible will encourage interaction. Remind yourself that not everyone wishes to know your political or religious views. I do happen to follow some controversial and opinionated blogs and pages, but this is not for everyone. If you regularly post very opinionated things which alienate people, obviously they may then unfollow for this reason. Look at what you’re posting. Are you just posting links to your books and expecting people to stay interested? Are you only talking about yourself and forgetting to highlight the talents of other authors? Do you only post your own content and fail to share interesting articles and blogs from elsewhere? Do you only post serious stuff and neglect to lighten things up occasionally? Do your posts inspire discussion and debate? Try involving the audience more. Ask them questions, run competitions and giveaways and ask their help when you need it. There are so many ways you can keep a page or blog active and vibrant and fun! If they just didn’t like your content then don’t worry; you’ve lost nothing if they were never going to buy your books anyway.

Reciprocal Follows

It pays to remember that lots of people swap ‘Likes’ and ‘Follows’, which often makes them meaningless. I try to be reciprocative on social media and I generally follow people back if they follow me, but I am starting to get pickier. There is no real point in me following someone whose content is not something I would ever seek out or enjoy. The same applies to blogs. I follow back where I can, and then what happens? Nine times out of ten they sit silently in my reader and I never hear from them again. If I am tempted enough by their content to follow by email, then I will get an email every time they post, but how many of these do I open? Again, probably about one in every ten. And whose do I tend to open? People I already know, out of loyalty and support, and people I have enjoyed before. I am therefore saving what little time I have to read blogs I know I can rely on being entertained or informed by.

What You Can Do

Reciprocate to support other authors, by all means, but be realistic about it. If you hate erotica but have followed a blog about erotic fiction because the author kindly followed yours, the chances are you are never going to engage with one another’s content. Realize that you are mostly playing a numbers game. Yes, it may look good that you have a lot more likes or followers, but will they ever buy your book? I’d advise using your time wisely. Engage with blogs and Twitter accounts and Facebook pages that you genuinely like the sound of. Get to know these authors and make them part of your support network. This kind of approach opens up doors to guest posts, author interviews, joint giveaways, and fosters genuine, long term relationships.

In Conclusion

And finally, try not to worry. If all these reasons apply, then surely it leaves behind the people who are regularly engaging with you on social media, which suggests these are the people who appreciate what you do and want more of it? The lack of reach is frustrating, as you start to feel invisible, but ask yourself why this is happening? If people are truly connected to you and your content, then they are unlikely to suddenly stop reacting, commenting and sharing your posts. And if they do, there must be a reason. Perhaps it just wasn’t for them, in which case, personally, I think it’s better that they go.

If you lose likes and follows, treat it as an incentive to up your game and concentrate on appreciating and rewarding the people who have remained.


Bio: Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to both reading and music, and is on a mission to become as self-sufficient as possible. She writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her books include The Mess Of Me, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, This Is Nowhere and This Is The Day. She has recently released Bird People and Other Stories, a short story collection related to her novels, and her next release will be a YA dystopian, The Tree Of Rebels. You can learn more on her Facebook page.